March 23, 2004
WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 10 California women's tennis team travels north to take on the Washington State Cougars and the Washington Huskies. The Bears are coming off two victories in Southern California, where they defeated Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine without the services of the nation's No. 1 player Raquel Kops-Jones. This week marks the first of nine-straight Pac-10 matches for the Bears over the next three weeks.
A QUICK GLANCE AT THE BEARS' OPPONENTS: The Bears face No. 49 Washington State, which is led by Orsolya Sallai and Lorena Arias, who occupy courts No. 1 and 2 for the Cougars. WSU is coming off a 5-2 defeat at the hands of Hawaii, and are 1-8 all-time against the Bears. No. 8 Washington competes against No. 44 Virginia Common Wealth earlier in the week before meeting the Bears. UW is guided by Coach Patty McCain, who just won her 100th game as the Huskie's coach. McCain has All-American Dea Sumantri at her disposal, currently ranked No. 23 in the country. The Bears are 17-1 all-time against the Huskies.
BACK ON THE COURT: Freshman Sasha Podkolzina, returned to action three weeks ago, after sitting out the previous three months with an assortment of ailments, including a bout with mononucleosis. Podkolzina saw her first singles action since early November last weekend, defeating Loyola Marymount's Kimi Kaloi, 6-0, 6-7, 6-1. Since her return, Podkolzina is 3-3 in doubles competition and 1-1 in singles action.
SCHELDT IN, KOPS-JONES OUT: 2003 team MVP Jody Scheldt returned to action last Friday after a three week layoff. Scheldt has been hampered with a bum right shoulder, which Coach Brogan and Scheldt decided to rest for the Pac-10 stretch run. The senior fell in her first outing back to Serena Fermin of LMU, but was able to bounce back, picking up the fourth and deciding victory in the Bears 4-3 win over Pepperdine. The nation's No. 1 player also has physical ailments to worry about. Kops-Jones, who has been toughing out a lower back injury since October, decided to sit out the weekends action in hopes that she would be ready for Pac-10 action. Kops-Jones is listed as day to day, and is questionable for the match against the Cougars Thursday.
KOPS-JONES NO. 1: Cal senior Raquel Kops-Jones was rewarded for her stellar play, becoming the No. 1 player in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Kops-Jones, who has been ranked No. 2 since the first poll of the year was unveiled Jan.13, moved to the top last week, after defeating three ranked opponents over a 10 day span in February, including No. 7 Daria Panova of Oregon and Stanford's Amber Lui. The native of Fresno, Calif., is 18-2 on the season, with five of those victories coming against athletes currently ranked in the ITA's Top 12. Her 18 wins in just 20 matches places her ahead of the pace she set in 2003, where she finished, 44-15, good for a No. 4 ranking nationally. Kops-Jones became the first African-American woman to win a major ITA singles title in the fall by defeating Stanford's Erin Burdette in the finals of the ITA All-American Tournament Oct. 12. The senior also teamed with Christina Fusano last spring to capture the NCAA Doubles title.
LYNCH, JACOBS REACH 100 WIN MILESTONE: Catherine Lynch, who is tied for the team lead in victories (20), picked up her 100th career victory recently in a match against Arizona (Mar. 5). Her 6-1, 6-2 victory over Wildcat Kasia Jakowlew made her the second of the Bears six seniors to reach the 100-win plateau. The first was Kops-Jones, who picked up her centennial victory in the round of 32 of the NCAA championships last season. Fellow senior Jieun Jacobs became the third Cal senior to hit the century mark, defeating Wendy Pilecka of Arizona State on March 6. Thanks to Jacobs 15-7 start, her career record currently stands at 101-45.
BROGAN'S LEGACY: In her 25 years at Cal, Jan Brogan has molded the Golden Bear program into one of the best in the country, guiding the Bears to 22 NCAA appearances, three AIAW showings and 18 Top 10 finishes since 1982. Brogan has also produced four national champion doubles teams, 54 All-Americans, 15 first team All-Pac-10 selections and three conference player of the year honorees. She currently boasts a 470-187 (.715) dual match record, making her the fourth active winningest coach in NCAA history.